The number of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) has fallen, but one in 10 16- 24 year olds in the UK is still economically inactive, official figures reveal.
An estimated 11.3% of all people aged 16-24 were NEET in January to March 2023, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is down 0.3 percentage points from the previous quarter, but up 0.9 points on the same period in 2022 and 0.2 points on pre-pandemic levels.
Young women (11.4%) were just as likely to be out of work, education or training than young men (11.1%). However, the decrease in people with NEET status in early 2023 (down 18,000 to 77,000 young people in total) was mainly driven by young men moving into education, training or employment.
The ONS considers people to be in education or training if they are enrolled on an education course and are still attending or waiting for term to start or restart; are doing an apprenticeship; are on a government-supported employment or training programme; are working or studying towards a qualification; or have had job-related training or education in the last four weeks.
NEETs in 2023
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The CIPD’s head of public policy Ben Willmott called on the government to work more closely with employers to reform failing areas of skills policy, such as the Apprenticeship Levy.
Earlier this month the Institute for Public Policy Research found that many young people in England are missing out on apprenticeships because of the emergence of a “postcode lottery” when it comes to finding a scheme.
“We need urgent action to reverse the falling number of apprenticeships going to young people in recent years and more funding and innovative thinking are needed to ensure that the government’s plans to reform further education are a success,” said Wilmott.
“There is also the need for wider reform of skills and other areas of policy such as innovation, business support, Statutory Sick Pay and labour market enforcement as part of the development of a new approach to industrial strategy. One that can boost labour market participation, training and productivity growth across all sectors of the economy.”